not just your average pork chop – plus a little something…

July 6th, 2009 · 33 Comments

oh lobel’s. how do i love thee? let me count the ways…

i’ve reached a point in my life where if i’m going to buy a slab of meat it’s going to have to be of serious quality. luckily in the nashville area we have some really good farmers raising the kind of meat i feel good about eating. i’ve felt this way for quite some time making it almost impossible for me to go to my local supermarket and just ‘pick up’ a chicken or a steak. michael pollan pretty much changed my thinking on all of this and now in the wake of ‘food, inc.’ – a movie that pretty much spells out the truth in undeniable facts about what has happened to our food supply and our nations declining health… well, in my home it’s either local meat from the farmers market where i can ask questions, or it’s ordered online from a trusted source.

i’m a full fledged omnivore, but given a choice, i’d take a bowl of pasta any day over a factory farmed piece of meat. and so i usually do. this way when i cook up a chop or roast a bird, it may cost more than one might be used to paying, but the usual meals of beans, grains and yes – my beloved pasta, seem to balance it all out. fyi – the above chop was about $1 an ounce. and my steaks can sometimes be as high as $4 an ounce, but this varies.

oh and just one more thing. a dear friend sent me this link and i am definitely making my next big thick steak using this method. this technique got my attention in a big way and quite frankly, i can’t stop thinking about it…

but before i hit you wth yet another bowl of linguini, i think the time is right to present to you this really beautiful and juicy 12 oz berkshire pork shop. it was simply seasoned and then pan grilled and served over some polenta that had been studded with italian sausage, mozzarella, roasted garlic and both red and green bell peppers. as a terrine it was lovely served beside some roast chicken, but there was quite a bit leftover so it was then frozen and now thawed and pan fried in the same pan as the pork had been while the chop was done and resting.

just now while i was writing this post i became a bit peckish and went outside and began to literally graze on my quasi-garden that resides in pots on my patio. some little ripe and very sweet cherry tomatoes were popped in my mouth accompanied with some basil and chive. i tasted the fennel fronds and the parsley and the french thyme too, just picking away as though i was a rabbit or a raccoon or a deer – or whatever usually ravages your garden…

some of the thyme was brought back in the house to go into tonights farro risotto, but on a whim i grabbed a few leftover water crackers, some fresh mozzarella and some calabrian fig molasses that i had just received as a gift and garnished it generously with the fresh thyme. when i took a bite i declared it absolutely wonderful.

the above picture is deceiving. i ate five of them…


Tags: cheese · polenta · potatoes

33 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Robert // Jul 6, 2009 at 1:54 pm


    Just as you are perticular about quality ingredients, technique can make mediocre meat amazing, and amazing meat divine. May I suggest a little duck fat in lou of butter….?

  • 2 claudia // Jul 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    robert – i so hope you make it a point to see this movie. please, please go to the site and see if it’s playing near you

    it’s not the taste, necessarily i am referring to. it is the practice. it is the way these animals are raised. it is the filth and sickness and chemicals that we are being forced to ingest. factory farming is a crime on so many levels.

    the local meat can’t hold a candle to the lobel’s of the world, but you’re right. with the right cut and then the best execution you can make it taste wonderful.

    but don’t get me started… i will begin to rant and rave….

  • 3 Kristie // Jul 6, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    And now the technique has gotten MY attention in a big way. Can’t wait to try it.

    As for the meat-sourcing, I just wish there were a way for me to get it without shipping or having to buy a shitload at once, you know? I’m going to research some more, I think.

  • 4 Foodie at Fifteen // Jul 6, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    I’m dyin to try that polenta. Looks delicious.

    herbs are too seldom prepared with sweets

  • 5 Emily Walters // Jul 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I would say “you are making me so hungry” but that would just be silly.

    Food Inc. : thumbs up! A must see for people who eat, and last time I checked that’s just about everybody.

  • 6 krysta // Jul 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    i’m afraid to see food inc. for a couple of different reasons… one is that i know i won’t want to eat for a few days. but that link for the steak… come to mama! i’d have no problem eating the whole thing.

    what’s up with all the little extras lately? it’s good… it’s like a 2 for 1 special… not in a tacky diner way, either.

  • 7 Melissa // Jul 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I can just picture you, nibbling through your garden. I don’t blame ya.

    As lovely as the chop is, I’m highly interested in that polenta.

    I too have seen that butter method from eGullet, through Nick at The Paupered Chef. He’s the one who also tested eGullet’s 90-minute no soak beans (IT WORKS!! ON RG’s!!), so I have confidence the steak will be grand.

    And finally… Food Inc? A little heeby jeebyed about seeing it. But I know I must. I bought a cheap cut the other day for the first time in a very long time. And I actually FELT GUILTY. I pulled out the package when I got home and said to Steve “I can’t believe I just bought immoral meat.” Ugh. I guess that’s why they say ignorance is bliss.

  • 8 Brooke // Jul 6, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    That is a beautiful hunk-a meat. Nice to take a break from carbs every once in a while and put those fangs to use.

    As soon as my wedding is over I’m using that method. I will be fantasizing about it fortnightly. But honestly, did you SEE all that butter?

  • 9 maybelles mom // Jul 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Wait were you the creature that ate my green tomatoes off the plant yesterday?

    It is a beautiful piece of meat.

  • 10 Lauren // Jul 6, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    dude, i was coming back for the mozzarella….

  • 11 Jack // Jul 6, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Great looking chop. I agree that factory farms suck. Don’t get me started. I can also say from experience that the cast iron skillet method is the way to go for thick steaks. The butter has to be there. If you’re worried about the fat you shouldn’t be eating marbled beef in the first place. I wouldn’t do it with a Porterhouse if you have a problem with dinner guests gnawing the bone!

  • 12 Mari // Jul 7, 2009 at 5:21 am

    I’m licking my screen. I think we’re going to have to stop by Nashville on our Great American Road Trip next year.

  • 13 we are never full // Jul 7, 2009 at 9:55 am

    thanks for that link to the steak “how to”. i think it is definitely worth playing around with. i love my steak almost rare (less medium rare but not rare rare – what the heck would that be called?) with a good crust and i’m not sure how easy it would be to keep it pretty raw in the middle with the crust if you do it this way. i am definitely intrigued, though. the other thing is it seems as though you need to have a very thick piece of beef for this to work well. but, again, i think it’s worth playing around with.

    as for your dish, fabulous. i love pork and there is nothing like a good hormone-free hunk of it. really, really lovely!

  • 14 rachel // Jul 7, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I’ve said it once and I will say it again, I love nice pork chop.
    The polenta sounds mighty fine too and it reminds me I don’t cook it enough.
    I am with you on the meat philosophy, saving yorself for the really decent, well raised and cared for meat.
    beloved pasta – ummm all this NY, nashville lark, your actually Italian aren’t you ?

  • 15 Becky and the Beanstock // Jul 7, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I think that would make you a squirrel. At least if you were living in my backyard. Damn squirrels….

    I share your view on meat — though I can’t say that I eat it. It’s just been too long without for me. My body wouldn’t know what to do. But sometimes I wish I could because it just smells so good.

  • 16 Jennifer Hess // Jul 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Oh yeah. Mike did that method again for us just a week or two ago with a ribeye. It’s phenomenal. Seriously.

    That chop is a think of beauty, and I love that you have pork in two forms in the dish! Yum yum yum.

  • 17 jim voorhies // Jul 8, 2009 at 7:15 am

    My dad owned a company that made cleaners and sanitizers for the dairy industry long ago. Prior to that, it wasn’t always safe to drink milk.

    Many years later a bacteriologist tried to get him to look at the chicken and oyster businesses to see what he might suggest. He visited processing plants all over the country to see the operation. (This was back in the 60s.) It was weeks before he’d eat a chicken again and he never ate oysters after that trip.

  • 18 Donald // Jul 8, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Yes! Yes!

    Lobels spoils one so. I remember just seeing the marbling in the Berkshire cut and thinking, pork chop? with marbling? this is gonna be good!

  • 19 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I haven’t seen the doc yet. I am almost a little weary of stuff like this. I know it’s bad to say that, but ever since “Fast Food Nation” (which I read quite eagerly) it seems that there is just book after book of the food industry. I sometimes just wnat to shout, “Yes, I get it. Our food supply is factor farmed and dangerous and horrid and it’s killing us. Enough!”

    I have found that I can get meats so much more easily at farmer’s markets now, which is such a boon. I know a farm that sells its own beef in a roadside stand (I made one of the steaks and blogged about it last summer and it was the most superb steak I have ever eaten). I also know a farm at the weekly farmer’s market in the area that does the most divine pork chops. Unfortunately their chickens leave a lot ot be desired. Thankfully, another chicken farmer recently moved in and the chickens are awesome. I ate a chicken on Monday that was slaughtered on Saturday!

    It’s an expensive habit though. I’m not sure how often I can afford to pay $22 for a while chicken.

  • 20 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Jul 8, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Whoops. I meant “whole chicken”.

    I also forget to say just how fantastic your polenta looks. Me want now!!!

  • 21 lo // Jul 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Absotively. Posilutely.
    At our house, we say we eat meat from “happy” aminals. And I always think that’s an apt description. Of course, we try to eat happy veg too — and what veg is happier than that which grows in my own backyard? Can’t think of much.

    Love the look of this meal… and I’m really looking forward to that farro risotto.

  • 22 democommie // Jul 8, 2009 at 5:12 pm


    If I can get some herbs planted in the next few weeks maybe I’ll be able to tell you how good skwerl that’s been grazing on rosemary tastes!

    That polenta looks even yummier than the one I made last week. I console myself with the fact that I get to eat ALL of the food I cook. Tonight was a nice slab of tuna with some grilled veggies and brown rice.

  • 23 asparagusspring // Jul 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    Until recently I did not eat much red meat. It was not for “dietary ” reasons. Every once in a while I would try a store-bought filet or New York strip.( I live in Fairview, and when I get a red meat craving I am usually not near Whole Foods.) So, I’d cook my regular store-bought filet with chive roasted potatoes and roasted mushrooms. With anticipation, I sit down with a good glass of red wine. I take a bite of crusty sour dough bread, a sip of red wine and then a bite of the filet that is perfectly rare. I take another bite of the filet. Then I eat the mushrooms, potato and bread. I give the rest of the filet to my dog. The taste and the texture of the meat makes me want to scrub my mouth.
    Recently I started buying steaks from different purveyors at the Franklin Farmers Market. All the meat is sold frozen, so I take a cooler with ice. The meats are all natural and taste like steak did when I was a kid 40 years ago; before all the bad stuff that happened to beef.
    Yes, it is more expensive. But why waste money on meat that you don’t want to eat and end up feeding to the dog? ( On a side note: My cats are a good barometer on meats. I noticed that they would not beg if I cooked chicken that was not all natural or free range. But if it was….They were in my face. Same for the beef)
    So. like Claudia, I ate a lot of pasta. And free range chicken and no chemicals added frozen fish that you can get at Publix. (If you close your eyes, the mahi is so good it makes you feel like you should be able to hear the surf) Publix also has a GreenWise frozen cooked shrimp that is very good.(Meaning : no added chemicals) They also sell a line of Emeril Lagasse frozen shrimp that has the preservative added that means that the shrimp stays translucent instead of turning white when cooked.(Think yucky, cheap Chinese buffet shrimp)
    So, now I keep frozen all natural steaks in the freezer so that when I do have a craving for beef, I eat every bite. And my dog is s–t out of luck.
    one note: You might want to shop around for ground beef at the Franklin Farmers Market. The last I bought had the consitency of sausage. Very gristley.

  • 24 goodfoodmatters // Jul 9, 2009 at 6:42 am

    great post
    berkshire pork is no doubt the best; love the look of that bed of polenta…
    more importantly, though, is the point that our food system is broken. It’s worth everything to eat food from local and trusted sources.

  • 25 Marie // Jul 9, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    I’ll take a bone in pork chop over a steak anyday! Thats one hellluva chop!

  • 26 Desiree@foodista // Jul 9, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    Food Inc was eye opening wasn’t it?! I too love meat but I’d just as fast settle for pasta if the meat’s a no go. Yours looks like it came out good. I like the ingredients too. I hope you wouldn’t mind having our Foodista readers directed to your blog. Just add your choice of widget to this post and you’re all set!

  • 27 SpinachTiger // Jul 13, 2009 at 5:53 am

    Hmmm farro risotto. Intriguing and must try. Wow that chop looks fantastic. Can you get up after eating it? :)

  • 28 codfish // Jul 13, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Love that you are picky about your meats. It’s become a fun thing for me and Jim, finding the best meats and poultry and fish. Don’t think we’ve cooked meat from a supermarket in about 2 years–don’t miss the convenience one bit.

    I just had a stellar berkshire porkchop in Savannah at Elizabeth on 37th. You ever been?

  • 29 zenchef // Jul 14, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    I made Berkshire pork chops yesterday and i LOVE them! They’re amazing, aren’t they?
    You are picky about meat and you should be. They’re such a big range in quality out there.

    As far as the mozzarella on cracker with fig molasses.. i would have ate 10 of those!!

    Coming back to NY anytime soon? :)

  • 30 chefectomy // Jul 18, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    That looks so fantastic, it’s cooked perfectly. You cannot beat local when it comes meat, I can’t agree more. Would love a visit from you sometime…

  • 31 Marc @ NoRecipes // Jul 27, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Wow, that looks great. You really do get what you pay for. On the topic of steak methods, I have a different method, that gets the best of high heat and low heat cooking. It involves searing in very hot cast iron then putting it in an oven that’s then turned off. The steak finishes cooking without much fuss and there’s almost no risk of over cooking it.

  • 32 Brad // Apr 24, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    thanks for that link to the steak “how to”. i think it is definitely worth playing around with. i love my steak almost rare (less medium rare but not rare rare – what the heck would that be called?) with a good crust and i’m not sure how easy it would be to keep it pretty raw in the middle with the crust if you do it this way. i am definitely intrigued, though. the other thing is it seems as though you need to have a very thick piece of beef for this to work well. but, again, i think it’s worth playing around with.

    as for your dish, fabulous. i love pork and there is nothing like a good hormone-free hunk of it. really, really lovely!

  • 33 Sarah // Apr 27, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Hmmm farro risotto. Intriguing and must try. Wow that chop looks fantastic. Can you get up after eating it? :)

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